Cerros de Amotape National Park covers 91,300 hectares of the Amotapes Mountain Range. It is part of Noroeste Biosphere Reserve’s core zone. The Noroeste Biosphere is 231,402 hectares and is made up of Cerros de Amotape National Park, El Angola Game Preserve, and Tumbes Reserved Zone. Supreme Decree Number 0800-75-AG created the park on July 22, 1975.
Most of the park is mountainous and is made up of the Amotapes Mountain Range. Its altitude ranges from 120 m (Rica Playa) to 1,538 m (Cerro Campana). It represents the divide between the Cazaderos Creek River Basin (bordering Ecuador) and the Bocapán Creek River Basin in the southern portion of the area. Many streams cross both the eastern and western slopes and feed the valleys of Fernández Creek, Mancora Creek, Casitas Creek, Bocapán Creek and Tumbes River. The last river valley, plus Zarmilla River’s valley, make up the most irrigable land in production in the entire Department of Tumbes (1).
The park is found in a climatic transitional zone, between the Peruvian coastal desert and the Ecuadorian sub humid tropics; specifically it is located in the equatorial dry forest biogeographic province. The following life zones are found within the park: very dry tropical forest, spiny tropical scrubland, desert tropical premontane matorral, dry tropical forest, and dry tropical premontane forest (2).
The park’s annual climate varies depending whether or not it is an El Niño year or not. Normally, there are distinct rainy periods during the summer, between December and March. There are also dry years and very rainy seasons. In general, it is hot and dry and cooler to the east in higher altitudes. To the north, it is hot and humid, while it is hot and dry in the south. Average annual temperature fluctuates between 23 and 24°C(3).
The park’s tropical spiny scrubland is located in the lower altitude of the western slope. The climate here is very hot, with temperatures between 23°C and 30°C and average annual rainfall of 500 mm. The very dry tropical forest is also hot and has temperatures similar to the spiny scrubland zone, but has annual average rainfall of 800 mm. The premontane dry tropical forest is located in the upper altitudes (where the water basins are divided), has varied temperatures, from 15°C to 32°C and average annual rainfall is 1000 mm. The dry tropical forest has similar temperatures to the premontane dry forest, but it is more humid because of more rainfall: 1,500 mm average annual precipitation (4).